Photology : a Call for Photographers

this is a call out to photographers who work on the difference between Light and Dark

-- don't we all ? can you not be more specific ?

this is a call out to photographers who play with shadows for effect

-- so what, surely a photograph needs shadow to contribute meaning and emotions?

this is a call out to photographers who think about the differing values we assign to Lightness and Darkness

-- and ... ?

and you are right: shadows play on emotions. I will try again: this is a call out to photographers who question the language of emotions we hang on shadow in this interplay of Light and Dark.

-- we still think you need to be more specific. Is it just any shadow? the shadows beneath a tree? the cast shadow of a tree?

I am sorry, you are having to work quite hard here. Specifically I am asking about the cast shadow and in particular the cast shadow of the person -- the shadow that follows us around. Just now I claimed that we attach values in language to Light and Dark: it seems as if we usually talk in terms of Light revealing virtue and Darkness concealing vice. The metaphoric use of light and dark pervades our language.

-- I see, we definitely need more clarity here

And it is that need for a clear cut distinctiveness that makes us uneasy. We understand the polar extremes of what is Light/visible and Dark/invisible but the cast shadow of the person is real and physical yet un-material and intangible: it seems like it has to occupy a space between Light and Dark So is our cast shadow good or bad, virtuous or vicious ? Not being of us yet always with us we do not know how to relate to it

-- and so ?

and so, to start with, we are looking for photographers of the cast shadow of the person who are able to explore their relationship with the cast shadow in all the uncertainties and doubts that fill any real relationship. Students of [cinema]photography will remember the evil expressed in Nosferatu's shadow; fine art historians will know the legends of St Peter's shadow sufficient to cure the disabled. Perhaps it is more complex than that, indeed a gray area...

-- yes ?

well, somewhere to get started is to think about relationships and the tools and descriptions that psychology provides. One starting point could be the psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung who described a patient's behavioral traits that his subject was least at ease with as the shadow character. Jung was quite clear that we all have a tendency to imagine or project those same uncomfortable characteristics onto other people instead of understanding them as parts of our own nature. So perhaps this call out might address those projections onto other people.

-- hmmm

OK, another starting point might be religion and its frequent ties between light as revelation with darkness as a wrong. It would be interesting to hear from photographic artists who know more of animist beliefs ( of divine presence throughout the non-human world), or shamanic beliefs ( of access to a spirit world). Other creation myths may be helpful.

-- changing direction a little, what do you mean by photology?

Photology begins as a study in the effects of light energy: we make photographs by the impact of light quanta on a recording medium, a photo-sensor, or a silver halide emulsion. So why is a photographic negative? this sort of question takes us a little closer to the roots of the word: photo- for light and -logos meaning knowledge and doctrine. Thus the term photology has been repurposed in critical theory to focus interest on the way in which the language of physics is used to colonise metaphysics. And in the end this project is for photographers who take a fresh look at the cast shadow of the person, even another person; or, who can take a step beyond the cultural comfort zone that light is right and dark is not and the cast shadow can be free of these ties.

-- so far, so good -- we probably have quite a few photographs with our shadows in them.

this is a book project and our readers will need to know in your text more of your thought processes when you made the image and as you think back on it. Your words are going to be needed as a counterpart to the visuality in your image. I hope you can find at least 150 and upto 400 words to catch our attention -- the quality of your image is unquestioned.

-- OK, what is the deal?

It is going to be a long time before we can meet up and create a physical exhibition so with my publishers I will bring together 15 or 20 selected contributors in a hardback book form. Each contributor will feature in a two-page spread, their text facing their image. The book will have an ISBN and will be a Legal Deposit at the British Library to become a document of record. Each contributor will receive a free copy posted anywhere on the globe and may purchase further copies at cost, around $10US. There are no charges for participation and you retain all intellectual property rights (IPR).

-- And what is in it for you?

I am a research driven artist with a long term interest in the cast shadow of the self. This book project hopes to bring together a shared interest group with other artists and hope for a better understanding of the entanglement or confusion of the cast shadow with the Other -- those other people who we feel are too different from us for comfort. My hope is to work to reduce that difference.